How to Become a Catholic School Teacher

how to become a catholic school teacher

The requirements for teaching in a private school, including Catholic schools, are similar to that of teaching in public schools. Because private schools are not state funded, they are not required to meet as many state regulations to obtain funding. For this reason, qualifications for public and private school teachers may vary. Read on for more information about what it entails to be and how to become a Catholic school teacher.

The Catholic education

Catholic educators seek to promote a holistic approach to learning that helps shape the mind, body and soul. Through instruction in core curriculum areas, physical education requirements that exceed public school standards and theology studies, the Catholic school student is shaped by caring and faithful faculty members who mold students into model citizens.

Catholic teachers are considered catechists, or teachers of doctrine. Even those who teach in subjects outside of theology are expected to espouse Catholic attitudes in their actions and words.

Requirements for Catholic teachers

Teaching in a private school, such as a Catholic school, can be a great start for first-year teachers. Not all private and Catholic schools require teachers to have a state certificate, making employment with a private institution ideal for teachers who are pursuing alternative certification programs. Of course, teachers with more education, certifications and experience may be at an advantage.

Minimum requirements for private school teachers vary by state, but most states mandate that teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree in the subject area in which they wish to teach. Catholic school teachers who intend to teach theology are often required to hold a graduate degree in Roman Catholic theology. An excellent way to meet educational requirements is to obtain an online theology degree.

Why teach in a Catholic school?

There are pros and cons to teaching in Catholic schools. While private school teachers are often not paid as well as public school teachers, working conditions often compensate for the pay disparity. Though that is by far the biggest negative to teaching in private schools, the other side of the coin offers many advantageous to teachers. For example, teachers in private schools have much more control over the curriculum. Removing disruptive students from the classroom is also much easier in private schools than in public schools. Because enrollment in private school is voluntary and not mandated by the state, teachers have much more control over the discipline of their students.

While public schools try to keep class sizes small, this is often difficult due to teacher shortages and lack of funding. Private and Catholic schools usually have smaller class sizes because enrollment is selective and tuition is individually financed by each student’s family. This allows teachers in Catholic schools to give students more of the individualized attention they need to excel.

Smaller schools also mean smaller staff. In addition, private schools often foster a more familial work atmosphere. A great working relationship with other teachers benefits not only the instructors, but the students as well.

Career outlook

Employment opportunities in Catholic schools will depend entirely on enrollment figures. However, teaching in a Catholic school is not the only option for certified teachers. Teachers can find employment in secular private schools, public schools, day schools and tutoring agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports projected growth in various careers. The numbers for selected careers in education are below:

Preschool teachers

Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow by 25 percent through 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Workers with post-secondary degrees in early childhood education will have the greatest job prospects.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers

Employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers, as a whole, is expected to increase by 17 percent through 2020. Regions experiencing the most growth include the South and West. Midwest regions are expected to hold steady while the Northeast will experience a decline.

Middle school teachers

Employment of middle school teachers is expected to grow by 17 percent through 2020. As with kindergarten and elementary school teachers, employment of middle school teachers is expected to be greater in the South and West and slower in the Midwest and Northeast.

High school teachers

Employment of high school teachers is expected to be slower than average through 2020, growing at a rate of just 7 percent. This is due largely in part to predictions that enrollment growth will be slower than that of other grades. Again, growth will be fastest in the West and South.

Other Catholic school jobs

Schools need a full staff, not just teachers, to operate. There are other Catholic school jobs that are equally important to the efficient operation of the school. These careers include:

  • Teacher’s aide
  • Principal
  • Guidance counselor
  • Secretary
  • School nurse
  • School psychologist
  • Curriculum coordinator
  • Child care worker
  • School administrator
  • Superintendent

For more career ideas, visit our pages on Jobs in the Catholic Church and Catholic Careers with a Theology Degree.